ACC awards honorary degree to oldest WWII veteran, Richard Overton, at fall commencement

Austin Community College will recognize Army veteran Richard Overton with an honorary associate degree, the college’s highest distinction. Overton will join hundreds of ACC graduates during fall commencement 6 p.m. Thursday, December 11 at the Frank Erwin Center (1701 Red River Street).

“ACC commends Mr. Overton for his selfless service to our country,” says Dr. Richard Rhodes, ACC president and CEO. “He sacrificed his own opportunities to attend college when he enlisted. This is truly a well-deserved honor.”

At 108, Overton is the nation’s oldest surviving World War II veteran. He served in the Army’s 188th Aviation Engineer Battalion and was stationed in the Pacific during World War II, serving in Pearl Harbor, Guam, Palau, Okinawa, and Iwo Jima.

Born in Bastrop County, Overton still calls Central Texas his home. He lives in the same East Austin home he built when he returned from the war.

Overton will be recognized along with more than two dozen other veterans expected to graduate ACC this fall semester. The ceremony includes a special tribute to graduating veterans, who will receive medals in appreciation of their service.

The number of graduates at ACC has increased significantly in recent years, with more than 2,500 students graduating in 2012-13 – up about 59 percent over five years ago.

“We’re proud of all the work our students have accomplished. Many work full time and raise families while completing their education,” says Rhodes. “We are dedicated to providing pathways to a brighter future. On this night, that new journey begins.”

The commencement speaker is Victor Hwang, CEO and co-founder of T2 Venture Creation, a Silicon Valley firm that mentors and builds startup companies and designs ecosystems to further entrepreneurial innovation.

For more information and a site and parking map for the fall commencement, visit

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